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VA Medical Center implementing Legion recommendations

The American Legion’s System Worth Saving Task Force has issued seven recommendations for improving communications and staff relations at Fort Wayne’s VA Medical Center.

The medical center has already implemented many of the suggestions and plans to pursue the rest, a local VA official said Thursday.

“We appreciated their feedback,” said Sheryl Grubb, public affairs officer for VA Northern Indiana Health Care System.

In early December, task force members toured the medical center, interviewed staff and conducted a public forum for military veterans. The visit was prompted by a temporary suspension of inpatient care at the Lake Avenue medical center that began in October.

Among other things, the task force report calls for VA Medical Center leaders to meet with veterans and their service organizations, congressional staffs and media to explain reasons for the pause in inpatient care and steps for resuming it.

Grubb said the medical center has begun regular communications with those groups and will send to the 40,000 veterans who use the regional health system a letter that updates the suspension and resumption of inpatient services. That resumption is expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2013.

The task force also recommended supervisor training for mid-level staff, the continued use of employee workgroups and expedited hiring to fill four clinical vacancies.

Grubb said VA’s National Center for Patient Safety is at the medical center this week to conduct clinical team building training.

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